Ciceley Motorsport ‘confident’ after timely return to rostrum
Mac Tools with Ciceley Motorsport has reason to be hopeful for the rest of the season, after one of the Lancashire-based squad’s best weekends to date. Rounds 19, 20 and 21 of the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship saw the Mercedes-Benz A-Class race to third, second and fourth across the three races at the high-speed Thruxton circuit.
The team endured a frustrating start to the season – scoring one podium from the first six events of 2019 – which prompted a recent change in engineering personnel for the Hampshire races, as staff who previously worked with both Ciceley Motorsport and Adam Morgan were drafted in to bring about a change in fortune for the remaining rounds.
It was evident that there was an immediate difference in car performance for Adam, lining up fourth for the first race of the weekend – his strongest qualifying performance of 2019.
Adam clinched his first podium since the season-opener at Brands Hatch after a race-long battle with the Honda Civics of Dan Cammish and Josh Cook in race one.
The A-Class took on 42 kilos of success ballast for race two, proving a further test for Adam and his newfangled team of engineers. A season best second place awaited the Lancashire driver at the flag as he followed Josh Cook home.
The semi-reversed grid for the final race of the day meant Morgan started fifth, carrying a further six kilos after his race two success. In tricky conditions, he held his nerve and even gained a place (with an audacious dive to the outside of the chicane) eventually finishing fourth to complete the team’s second best point scoring weekend ever.
Dan Rowbottom confirmed a strong weekend for the outfit as the BTCC rookie added to his 2019 points tally.
Ciceley Motorsport currently sits fifth in the independent teams’ standings while Morgan occupies the sixth independent driver spot, two points shy of a top five position.
A return to form means the team are upbeat and hopeful of similar results heading to Knockhill – a track where Adam scored a second place finish in 2015 and narrowly missed out on a podium last season.
“Straight away, the car felt different,” Adam commented. “It is so much easier to drive and that in turn gives you more confidence. We needed to know where the root of the problem was and we felt fresh eyes would be a good way of starting that process.
“I made a good start in race one and got alongside Cammish, I then looked after the tyres for the first few laps which helped in the battles later on. A podium is a huge boost for us all and the car just felt great.
“Race two was the first time I’ve run with weight all year so we didn’t really know how the car was going to react, but it was excellent once again. Maybe there was a bit left in me, but I just want good finishes and points, so another podium is brilliant. We discovered when we got the car back that a clutch release bearing failed so we needed to do an engine change before race three.
“It’s been an incredible weekend. The car feels so different, much easier to drive, more confidence inspiring and we have had pace that we’ve lacked all season. We had great pace in race three against lighter cars and we’ve done so little to the setup all weekend, just the occasional camber change, because it has worked. We’re back!”
Norman Burgess, Commercial Director of Ciceley Motorsport said: “It was a tough decision to part with our Italian friends after all their endeavours, which we appreciate massively but we have shown that a fresh set of eyes and different ways of engineering a car have worked well.
“Adam has been in the mix every time he’s hit the track and the morale in the team has skyrocketed accordingly. It’s been a tough start to the year but this has been a massive boost for us all. Dan has had a great weekend too, he is really getting to grips with his car and I am certain that his first top ten finish is just around the corner.
“We go to Knockhill now confident of running at the front and finishing the season on a high note.”